RECOUNTING the lives of Bury sailors and little-known stories from the First World War, a new book by a Bury author shines a spotlight on unsung heroes of the four year conflict.

Bayly's War, by Steve Dunn, centres on the Royal Navy's Coast of Ireland Command in their fight for survival against unrestricted submarine warfare in the cold waters of the Atlantic.

The Command's valiant sailors played a vital role in the Allied victory, combatting the German attempt to drive Britain in to submission by starving it of food and resources sent from the Americas.

The book is the sixth by the Bury-born author and naval historian, who attended Bury Grammar between 1962 and 1971 and was nominated for the Maritime Foundation’s Mountbatten Maritime Award for Best Literary Contribution for Blockade: Cruiser Warfare and the Starvation of Germany in World War One.

Mr Dunn, aged 65, who now lives in Birmingham, said: "I started writing about 10 years ago because I felt that was something I had always wanted to do. And I feel it is important in life to fulfil your ambitions.

"This started as a hobby and turned in to a passion, that is now something that I am trying to make a living from.

"I think Bayly's War is the best thing that I have done. I am very pleased with it.

"I have since been commissioned to write two more books, one next year and one in 2020, so this new career is one that I am very pleased with."

Mr Dunn also hopes to raise awareness of the exploits of ordinary sailors who found themselves in extraordinary circumstances.

He said: "I don't think the navy gets the recognition it deserves for its part in the war, and I don't think the sailors get their recognition either.

"So I'm happy I'm righting a wrong for these people.

"I'm hoping that when people stand at the cenotaph in September they remember the navy as well as the Western Front.

"I discovered the Bury sailors in my research and I wanted to get some recognition for Bury."

One hero whose tale features in the book is 16-year-old Fred Hyde — a pupil at Bury Grammar School from September 1911 until June 1914, when he left to become an apprentice in the mercantile marine.

Mr Hyde was a member of the Galgorm Castle's 24-strong crew when, nearing the end end of its journey from Buenos Aires to Queenstown carrying a cargo of maize, the vessel was torpedoed by a German U-boat, in February 1917.

Despite the crew making it in to two separate lifeboats, he was one of many who did not survive.

Mr Hyde, whose elder brother Harry had already died at Ypres in 1915, became the youngest person commemorated on the Bury Grammar School Memorial.

Another is his comrade, 24-year-old Able Seaman Francis Emerson, who died when his ship was attacked by a German U-boat in March 1917.

Although he escaped to a lifeboat, the small craft capsized in rough seas and all nine men aboard were lost. Francis' body was never recovered.

Mr Dunn described how for many the war was a chance for escape with many loving the danger, while others just wanted to come home.

He said: "It a was an entirely different world, and it is difficult for us to think what it was like for ordinary lads from Bury.

"Hyde was just 16, and being 16 in Bury in those days you only knew Bury — the mills, the cobbled streets — you would probably only have travelled as far as Bolton.

"And then to be thrust in to the sea and in to the war, finding yourself going to the Americas, it must have been an incredible experience for them."

Bayly's War: The Battle for the Western Approaches in the First World War is available from all good bookshops and online retailers.